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August 27, 2021

New app helps drivers identify parking ticket trouble spots

Parking tickets are a necessary evil for most city dwellers. Some people park illegally on a regular basis, content to receive tickets to avoid the congestion pricing.

Trouble is, tickets are being written with increasing frequency these days as cash-strapped municipalities try to squeeze revenue from every side street.

Not only are municipalities making parking costlier and more restrictive, the proceeds – which, at one time, were reinvested in parking and transportation-related services – are now being used to support other programs.

So it's not surprising that police and bylaw officers are becoming increasingly reluctant to give drivers a break. It’s happening in cities across Canada, but Winnipeg appears to be the worst.

There, revenue from parking fines has climbed by 25 per cent since 2009, when it was $6.2 million. This year, the city is projecting $8.3 million in parking enforcement revenue, about $200,000 more than it made in 2012.

Stung by the high cost of parking fines, one U.K. firm has started employing young people with a clean license to “van-sit” their fleet of commercial vehicles instead of parking them in central London.

The 'sitters' take the vehicle and drive around town waiting for a call, while also carrying out simple errands. Alternatively, drivers remain remain double parked until a bylaw officer approaches, then they simply drive away.

Perhaps there's a better way, particularly if you live in the GTA.

A new app created by a Toronto web developer has compiled over 14 million parking tickets from recent years to identify hot spots for those caught trying to beat the meter.

The site, ParkinToronto, shows users the addresses in the city where the most parking tickets have been issued, thus helping drivers determine the probability of getting a parking ticket at a given time and place.

Do you have a system in place to minimize parking tickets? Or are they just another part of city living?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...